West Chester

False Statements on Gun Purchase Application Lawyer

When you want to buy a firearm in Pennsylvania, you have to go through a rigorous process. You must fill out various forms and wait for the results of a background check. In many cases, a gun purchaser in Pennsylvania is approved within minutes. However, the background check may reveal something you did not indicate on the forms. In this scenario, the seller will contact the police. This can lead to your arrest, and possible misdemeanor or felony charges for lying on a gun purchase application.

If you are accused of lying on the forms, do not try to clear up this misunderstanding with the police yourself. Instead, contact a false statements on a gun purchase application lawyer as soon as possible. As an experienced Pennsylvania gun lawyer, Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm is here to help you avoid criminal charges for innocent mistakes. The legalese on these forms can be confusing – even misleading in some instances. We have worked with many individuals who filed an inaccurate form by accident and are not guilty of any crime. To talk with us about your case, call (610) 436-1410 and schedule a free consultation.

Pennsylvania Laws for Buying and Carrying a Firearm

To purchase a rifle, shotgun, or long gun in Pennsylvania, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a Pennsylvania ID. To purchase a handgun, you need to be at least 21 years old with a Pennsylvania ID. Then, you need to be ready to fill out the paperwork completely and accurately. Failing to do intentionally or by accident can lead to an arrest and criminal charges.

Whether you are purchasing a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, you must undergo a background check. You will fill out ATF Form 4473 for the National Instant Check System and PA Form SP4-113. The forms ask about your criminal record, personal mental health history, alcohol and drug use, and military discharge status. You must sign a certification, which means you can be penalized for lying on a gun application.

If you lawfully own a gun and want a License to Carry a Firearm, you must fill out PA Form SP4-127 with your local sheriff’s office.

During either process, purchasing a gun or obtaining an LCF, you must provide accurate and complete information to the government agency. If the seller or sheriff finds incomplete or inaccurate information, a prosecutor may charge you with making false statements on a gun purchase application.

Making a False Statement When Purchasing a Firearm (18 PA Cons Stat §6111(g)(4))

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §6111(g)(4), a prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree felony if, while purchasing, delivering, or transferring a firearm, you knowingly and intentionally:

  • Make a materially false oral statement;
  • Make a materially false written statement, including a statement on any form for a state or federal government; or
  • Furnish or exhibit a false ID intended or likely to deceive the seller, licensed dealer, or licensed manufacturer.

A third-degree felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

For a prosecutor to convict you of this offense, they must prove you gave false information knowingly and intentionally. For example, the prosecutor might try to prove you purposefully lied on a gun background check to get around the law. If you made a genuine mistake on the form, we would vigorously defend you. We may be able to present evidence of your lack of intent to the prosecutor and get the charges dismissed.

Unsworn Falsification to Law Enforcement (18 PA Cons Stat §4904)

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §4904, a prosecutor will charge you with a second-degree misdemeanor if you, with the intent to mislead a public servant performing their official function:

  • Make any written false statement that you do not believe to be true;
  • Submit or invite reliance on any writing that you know to be forced, altered, or otherwise inauthentic; or
  • Submit or invite reliance on any sample, specimen, map, boundary mark, or other object you know to be false.

A second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

A prosecutor can charge you with a third-degree misdemeanor if you make a false written statement that you do not believe to be true on a form.

A third-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Common Mistakes When Purchasing a Gun

You might make a critical mistake when filling out forms to purchase a firearm. We often work with individuals who accidentally answer questions wrong about:

  • Active Protection from Abuse Orders: A form may ask you whether you are currently subject to a PFA, otherwise known as a restraining order. However, the form may not call it a Protection from Abuse Order. Instead, the form may ask whether you are subject to any court order restraining you from contacting another person. This is the same thing as a PFA, but you may not realize it and accidentally mark no.
  • Domestic Abuse Convictions: A domestic abuse conviction, even if it was a misdemeanor and not a felony, makes you ineligible to own a firearm. You may not realize this and not include a misdemeanor conviction on the form.
  • Convictions That Could Have Resulted in More Than One Year of Imprisonment: The application form may ask whether you have ever been convicted of an offense that could have resulted in imprisonment of more than one year. The issue is whether the crime could have led to over one year of imprisonment, not whether it did. You may incorrectly answer no because you were not actually sentenced to more than one year.
  • DUI Convictions: You may not realize that being convicted of at least three DUIs within a five-year period makes you ineligible to buy or possess a gun. Or, you may think your DUIs occurred more than five years apart. Whatever the misunderstanding, you may not mark your convictions on the form properly.
  • Commitment to a Mental Health Institution: The application will ask whether you have been committed to a mental health institution. This does not mean you had to be committed to a facility for a long period. It includes 302 commitments, which are typically brief involuntary holds.
  • Juvenile Convictions: The application form will ask about convictions including juvenile offenses. You may accidentally answer no to a question because you did not think juvenile offenses counted. If you were adjudicated delinquent as a minor, then for some time, you are prohibited from owning a firearm as an adult.

To avoid common mistakes, you must read the forms very carefully. You should never guess at an answer. If you are unsure, speak with an attorney about the appropriate answers on the form and whether you are disqualified from purchasing a firearm.

A Pennsylvania Weapons Defense Lawyer Can Help

Attorney Michael J. Skinner has years of experience helping Pennsylvania residents defend their right to bear arms, granted to them. Both the federal and Pennsylvania governments greatly restrict who can buy, sell, own, and use a firearm, as well as where lawfully owned firearms can be carried and used. All of these restrictions can be difficult to track, and a simple misunderstanding can lead to unnecessary misdemeanor and felony charges.

Whether you are facing charges for unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful concealment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, or false statements on a gun purchase application, we are here to help. Attorney Skinner will scrutinize each piece of evidence and identify the weaknesses as well as clear mistakes.

Depending on the circumstances, we may fight to have the charges dropped or dismissed. This may be possible if we can show you made an innocent oversight and lacked the necessary intent to commit a crime. Or, we may pursue an acquittal at trial or take steps to mitigate the consequences of a potential conviction.

Contact Us about False Statements on Gun Applications

When you are not used to filling out official government forms, it is all too easy for complicated legal language to confuse you. Without realizing it, you may answer an important question incorrectly. The disparity between the results of your background check and your signed forms may lead a seller to turn you into the police. From there, a prosecutor may choose to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. If you’re charged with making false statements on a gun application in or around Chester County, Skinner Law Firm is here to defend your rights.

Contact us online or call (610) 436-1410 to schedule your free consultation with a weapons lawyer in West Chester, PA.